Already open for just about a month, Forty Two (tapas bar, cockail bar & shisha lounge) was finally the place I got to visit, eat in and try something new tonight.

We were early diners as we obviously wanted to see the place and what it has to offer. The entry into the main bar area was as rewarding as those initial tempting photographs were from their website, really nice to see something so stylish for Peterborough. Plush velvet covered chairs in a bright blue along with grey the decor is extremely chic. A wonderfully long bar along the main wall, glitz, mirrors and sparkle. What a lovely job they have made of this iconic Peterborough building. So we were welcomed by the lovely Albert who showed us around. The main bar area is spacious with large tables great for groups. Plenty of standing room too and there’s ample staff ready to serve you whatever you need. The lounge bar is conservatory style, comfortable and bright, later in the evening the lighting changes and has a warm feel to it. On sunny days like this it’s great to sit there with the doors open enjoying the breeze coming through. The shisha lounge, empty at the moment has a unique feel, an outside/inside garden with dimmed lighting, shielded from the weather and just a cosy place with large screen tvs and fairy lights… we’ll come back here later.

Upstairs and the Lux Bar is a great room when you want to have some private time together or there’s a group of you out entertaining yourselves, seating up to 25 people. It’s pink lighting highlights their inviting red sofas, chairs and curtains….it’s a wonderfully calm area and again in a lovely velvet which simply fits the room and theme. You’ll receive waitress service up here and there’s music being played too. Up again and we’re in the Sky Bar which has views over the city nearby. Seating here is around 100 people so it’s the perfect venue for parties, large business meetings, celebrations and, of course, small weddings. Who wouldn’t want to be under such a stunning chandelier and seating with these modern colours and comfort. If you want to hire it you’re looking at £350 which will include staffing and your very own bar, there’s also a lift direct from the kitchen for serving all your food choices to your guests.

Back we go downstairs and onto the main reason we have come…to sample the food and drink. Our server Ferdy was smart, polite and really helpful as we were first-timers to all menus. I chose a Merry Berry mocktail (a long drink with a mix of fruits with a strawberry and a slice of orange) £5.00 we also ordered a Pimm’s and lemonade. So onto the food… I’m hungry with all those wonderful smells coming out of their open kitchen. We choose from a long list of tapas dishes…they come in a range of sizes depending on the what the contents are from a selection of meat, fish and poultry right through to vegetable and side dishes and of course a mini desserts menu at the bottom, ready for later. Forty Two are serving up gourmet tapas which you can see are inspired by the traditional Spanish ‘tabancos’ and we are told influenced by tastes and flavours from Spain, it’s a true tapas menu which hopefully will reward us with loads of flavour.

We had 3 Cured Meat & Cheese Platters – £8.20 (Chorizo, Serrano ham and cured pork loin served with Spanish cheese selection and chargrilled veg and bread)  Serrano Ham Chicken – £7.90 (3 chicken breast strips wrapped in Serrano ham with roasted garlic dip), Pepper & Aubergine Bruschetta – £4.90 (4 slices of bruschetta served with yoghurt and pomegranate topping), a portion of Potato Bravas – £3.90 (come in a Spanish sauce mild not hot), Garlic Potatoes £3.90, Calamari – £4.90 (served with a fresh parsley and achovy dip) and Spanish Omlette £3.90. The food didn’t take long to arrive and was all presented very nicely on grey crockery. The idea of tapas is that you get a tasting for what you eat so don’t expect large portions, however, when you have 2 or 3 or have some to share between your group, you’ll soon be full. The bowl of calamari was full with ample to share rather than eat them all on your own. The chicken was perfectly cooked and tasted wonderful in the ham, the Spanish omlette was non-traditional as it was flat rather than being a wedge but tasted lovely with the sliced new potatoes. The platters were ample with their meat selection and to fill the gap for large eaters both sets of potatoes come in quantity big enough to share. All plates cleared. The prices aren’t cheap, but the quality of the food you’re eating is high.

We decided to order some cocktails: 42 Punch was sweet and fruity, Pink Panther was red sweet and fruity and onto the mini desserts, and actually don’t worry about the ‘mini’ they are big enough to follow what you’ve already eaten. I dived in for a trial on the vegan, dairy free cheesecake – ‘Vegan Baked Vanilla Cheesecake’ £4.20 which was gorgeous with an oreo cookie base and vanilla cheesecake topping – I’ll have that again. Also we had the Chocolate Mandarin Brownie Cheesecake £4.20 rich with small pieces of mandardin layered within the cheesecake and a brownie cube on the top and the Honey & Malteser Cheesecake £4.20 – a large portion to be fair, very rich and creamy with maltesers on the the top. Each dessert came with a tiny bowl of fresh fruit salad pieces, just a nice fresh touch to rich desserts.

The atmosphere is calm and relaxing, you’re not rushed to make an order or rushed with your orders. The clientele are a mix of young, middle and us! LOL It’s aimed as somewhere to enjoy for the older market, not bar or night club style but to come with a little bit of sophistication, to dress smart but casual and to enjoy your time when you’re there. It’s definitely somewhere I’d go again, just for a chill. Nice music not too loud and you can hear yourself and everyone speak.

Off into the Shisha lounge to chat with Albert and to try something I’ve personally never done before. (I’m not a smoker and never have been) It’s a bit alien to me and obviously it’s about understanding what it is before jumping in with two feet. The Shisha Lounge is dark, low lighted, has music, fairy light lamps on the tables and comfy chairs. Large covers are overhead and because it’s outside there are heaters that are turned on when the sun goes down to stop you being cold. It’s certainly a unique ambiance in there. The list of shisha is extremely long and ranges from Starbuzz, Savacco, Frozen Blends and Alfakher £18 to £20. Their flavours are anything from ‘Blue Mist’ (blueberry and cool mint) to ‘Exotic Pirate’s Cave’ a sweet juicy lime margarita blend. There’s going to be something you like with 42 of them to choose from! For me, it’s not something I would possibly do again, (I’d rather just drink and eat and enjoy the time there) but as least I now know what it actually is. The Shisha Lounge is restricted to over 18s only and you’ll expect to stay up to 2 hours for one shisha between two people.

For drinks, food (available every day from 12 noon) and some shisha we were there for around 2 and a half hours in total on a Saturday night. The atmosphere was very relaxed and more people were coming in for drinks and shisha as the evening wore on. The tables are on a first come-first served basis so make sure you’re there early if there’s a lot of you. There’s a variety of people eating and drinking and having shisha – a complete mixed crowd. A great place for a night out the boys or girls if you want to just relax, have a chat and an evening out. For me it’s given Peterborough that little bit of sparkle and fun. Their happy hour is running from 5pm until 7pm Monday to Sunday, where it’s Buy-One-Get-One FREE on all our Cocktails!!!

An Elegant, Chic, Modern, Relaxing & Enjoyable space in the centre of Peterorough, if you haven’t tried it yet, make sure you do.

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